By Jacob Greenberg, Blaine County Commissioner
It’s a wild story. Blaine County, home to the famous Sun Valley Ski Resort, is a tourist-driven economy. With that comes large scale events and close proximity partying. Just what this virus likes.
The first positive COVID-19 test results were reported on March 13th, 2020. Community spread was determined on March 18, 2020. I requested that the Governor order Blaine County to self-isolate that same day. It was ordered and enacted on March 19, 2020. The state, Blaine County, and the cities within the county made disaster declarations.
An Emergency Operations Center was stood up and splintered into smaller groups, including a group of elected officials which included local mayors and the Blaine County Commission Chair. That group made the decision to further restrict the state order including the removal of construction as an essential service. It continues to meet three times a week and hopes to continue to speak in a unified voice.
The peak of positive test cases was March 31 and the flattening started the first part of April. Oh, by the way, mother nature decided to rattle us in the middle of all of this by throwing in an earthquake. You know Blaine County. We were shaken, but not stirred! Just like a James Bond martini!
We allowed our more restrictive measures to lapse with the new state order. The state order included many of the items in our more restrictive order and construction resumed. Oh, by the way again, did I mention we had a couple of wildfires to deal with. I looked at the menu and locusts are next. Or is that Mormon crickets?
I have been working on the LatinUS Task Force. That community has been challenged with getting information in Spanish, loss of service sector jobs, and the inability to obtain unemployment insurance. The Hunger Coalition has tripled the number of people served. The school continues to deliver lunches at a high rate. Kids deliver some of those lunches by bike to families who are too scared to come out.
We have two research studies planned to determine seroprevalence, or the number of positive cases in our population, along with samples for scientific study. I am currently working on a way forward. That may include widespread antibody testing coupled with social distancing, isolation, and contact tracing.
A Blaine Recovery Committee has been formed and businesses have been asked to develop operational plans consistent with social distancing guidelines and to be ready to reopen at the appropriate time. A group of lawyers are offering free services to those in need. The community howls at 8:00 pm to show their appreciation for front line workers. We will get through this. I have spoken with some of you through this crisis and others who want to talk please feel free to call me. Stay safe my friends.